It often happened during the years when I was teaching art at Brockwood Park School in Hampshire, England, that my own artwork had its origin in classroom activities.
My keen group of students were learning how to paint on silk and other fibers as part of a fiber art program. They also wanted to explore off-loom weaving processes.
I had a wonderful stash of painted silk color samples from studio experiments in earlier days, and laminated them onto canvas to make ribbon strips. In the attic I found a discarded window blind made of narrow pieces of wood – these were painted using light-reflective acrylics.
The wooden sticks and the silk ribbons came together in a pattern discovered in one of the texts we studied – it’s a very old Chinese pattern symbolizing the ebb and flow of the Tao.
A closer look.
The weaving was eventually mounted on a length of painted bamboo matting.
1780 x 650
painting on silk, off-loom weaving
silk Habotai, canvas, wooden sticks,
acrylic paints, fiber-reactive dyes
nomad collection: England
Silk Habotai, card, textured wood panel, mosquito netting, woven metal fragment, acrylic paints, fiber-reactive dyes
Painting on silk, assemblage
643 x 312
This piece illustrates a poem:
mountains of green
mountains of blue arise:
gratitude wells up
and fills my eyes
When I moved from Europe to tropical Queensland to care for my frail aged parents in their last chapter, I would sometimes take respite time at Ankida, a rainforest sanctuary in the Gold Coast hinterland. I felt like a Zen hermit tucked away in a grass hut amongst mountains that rolled westward for ever. It was a good place for poetic ramblings and painting; I felt blessed beyond words.
painted silk Habotai, textured card, cotton mosquito netting
Only a single line is needed to discover who is doing what.
– Paul Reps
painted silk Habotai, textured card, fiber reactive dyes
The only real experiences in life [are] those lived with a virgin sensibility
– so that we only hear a tone once, only see a color once,
see, hear, touch, taste and smell everything but once, the first time.
All life is but an echo of our first sensations,
and we build up our consciousness, our whole mental life
by variations and combinations of these elementary sensations.
– Herbert Read, The Innocent Eye
painted silk Habotai, handmade paper, acrylic light-reflective pigments, fiber reactive dyes,
woven cotton netting
The wonder that we are
meets the wonder that always is,
and the heart sings
within the playground of serendipity.
– Rodney Smith